Like several other CSUs, CSUSM has relied on a phone system built for a different time and different needs, and the campus’ 20-year-old PointSpan telephone system is now officially obsolete and not supported by the original manufacturer. Given the diminished extension-level usage for the telephone system, two years ago CSUSM set as a priority, though not a high one, to replace the 2,000-extension campus’ phone system. Prior to the COVID-19 incident, only 417 lines had been migrated to the new phone system, Mitel MX-One. These were primarily analog emergency services lines, such as elevators and Blue Lights in the parking lots, IITS and University Police offices, or extensions linked to phone service for the new Extended Learning Building.
During the COVID-19 event, the existing campus phone extensions and their limited capabilities to support a distributed campus highlighted the deficiencies of the obsolete PointSpan phone system and its inability to meet the changing needs of the virtual campus. IITS responded by quickly speeding up the deployment of the Mitel softphone solution and Contact Center functionality. This effort included softphone extensions for campus employees working from home as well as deployment of a full Automated Call Distribution (ACD) system and functionality for Admissions, Financial Aid, Records, Cashiers, Extended Learning, Dean of Students Office (Cougar Care Network), and IITS (Help Desk). By early May, all numbers in Cougar Central (primary student services point of service) were live in the new Contact Center phone services.
These new services include a number of enhancements that benefit students and the CSUSM staff who assist them. They include:
As of mid-June, more than 800 extensions have been moved from the old phone system to the new one, demonstrating once more IITS’ ability to quickly adapt to new realities and produce solutions that enhance student support in a virtual campus.